Chill choice for caffeine

Discovering cold-press coffee in Southwest

I hate to be a calorie counter, and in most cases, I’m not. But the heat of summer each year offers my caffeine-addicted self a tough predicament: either switch over to whipped cream-sugar-syrup-laden coolers or keep drinking hot coffee and spend my day sweating at my desk.

I prefer the former over the latter. Something about pouring a recently boiled beverage down my throat just doesn’t do it for me when it’s 90-plus degrees outside.

But a quick glance at nutrition facts for my favorite chocolate cooler reveals I’d better be spending all my summer nights running laps around Lake Calhoun. Almost 10 grams of saturated fat in a small cooler? Oofta.

Alternatives are sparse. No coffee at all? Sorry — I am an addict. No coffee in the morning equals no productivity before 3 p.m.

How about a Coke? No. Not strong enough.

Iced tea? Too bleh for breakfast.

Good thing my co-workers sent me on an assignment to discover the perfect iced coffee in Southwest. I thought at first I was going to be consuming a latte a day. Turns out I instead discovered the perfect alternative to hot coffee: cold-press iced coffee.

It may look like the barista’s merely taking stale leftovers and pouring it over a cup of ice, but there is a process to creating the perfect cold-press-plus-ice brew.

Step 1. Put ground coffee and cold water together in a container.

Step 2. Let it sit for about 12 hours.

Step 3. Strain it, then refrigerate it.

Step 4. Pour it on ice.

The end result is a very smooth drink, as a lot of the acidity normally found in coffee mostly disappears. While some argue smoothness comes at the cost of flavor, I haven’t found that to be a big issue. More importantly, it still feeds the head rush I so crave every morning.

Many — if not all — Southwest coffee shops carry cold press in some shape or form. Definitely a good thing.

Even better, cold-press iced coffee has as many calories as it does sodium, which isn’t much. My favorite chocolate cooler has about 70 times that amount.

Summer predicament solved.

Cold press highlights

French Meadow Bakery and Café, 2610 Lyndale Ave. S. Here’s a cold-press coffee meant for a lazy afternoon. Best enjoyed with a delicious cake or muffin — which there are plenty of at French Meadow — this is a very smooth drink. For true coffee devotees, the flavor might border a bit on flat. Then again, they’re probably not going anywhere near cold press to begin with.

Bob’s Java Hut, 2651 Lyndale Ave. S. Talk about a head rush. Supposedly the cold-press process eliminates some of the caffeine associated with darker coffees, but I couldn’t tell with Bob’s iced coffee. Perfect for the start of a long day in the office.

Sebastian Joe’s, 1007 W. Franklin Ave. Secret No. 1: Sebastian Joe’s, on top of great ice cream, produces great coffee. Secret No. 2: They also produce fantastic cold-press iced coffee. Plus, they let you pick the strength. Who doesn’t love options?